Sunday, June 21, 2020

Loss of Engine Power (Partial): Beechcraft 23 Musketeer, N2339J; accident occurred October 18, 2015 near Humboldt Municipal Airport (M53), Gibson County, Tennessee

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Memphis, Tennessee

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Humboldt, TN
Accident Number: ERA16LA019
Date & Time: 10/18/2015, 0745 CDT
Registration: N2339J
Aircraft: BEECH 23
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On October 18, 2015 at 0745 central daylight time, a Beechcraft 23, N2339J, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near the Humboldt Municipal Airport (M53) Humboldt, Tennessee. The fight instructor and student pilot were not injured. The airplane was registered to Old School Aircraft, LLC and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions were reported near the accident site, and no flight plan was filed.

The student pilot arrived to the airplane and conducted his preflight inspection, and confirmed oil and fuel quantities of 6 quarts and 33 gallons respectively. The fuel was strained, and the indications appeared normal. When the flight instructor arrived a short time later, they verified the fuel and oil quantities again.

The flight instructor reported that the preflight and engine start were normal. They taxied to the active runway for takeoff. At an altitude of approximately 950 feet above ground level (agl), the engine started to lose power and sounded like it was "missing," according to the student pilot. The engine was generating partial power.

The flight instructor took over the controls, checked the fuel, magnetos and applied carburetor heat with no improvement noted. He made a right turn back to the departure airport in order to avoid a residential area immediately north of the airport. He made a series of S-turns to lose altitude and land on runway 22 at M53. Realizing that a highway was immediately off the arrival end of runway 4, and there was a possibility of landing long, he elected to land in a bean field.

During landing roll in the field, the nose landing gear sheared off after striking an incline, which resulted in the nose of the airplane striking the ground.

Federal Aviation Inspectors examined the airplane after the accident and noted substantial damage to the engine firewall.

The airplane was recovered to a storage facility for a more detailed examination. A compression check was performed and all cylinder with the exception of the no. 2 cylinder had compression above 72 psi when a compression tester was used. The no. 2 cylinder would only produce 8 psi of compression. Further examination revealed that carbon deposits were visible on the intake and exhaust valve seats and their respective valve faces. The intake valve would not seat fully due to deposits. The no. 2 cylinder exhaust pipe flange was separated from the cylinder exhaust seat face by about 0.25 in. on the outer left side and the stud was missing the nut and both washers.

An examination of the right magneto revealed that it was inoperative. Further disassembly revealed that the permanent magnet breaker end bearing had failed and 6 teeth were missing from the large distributor timing gear.

The no. 2 cylinder spark plugs were removed for examination and testing. The top plug tested satisfactorily on a test stand. The bottom plug tested marginally with a weak spark and there were lead deposits found on the electrode.

An annual inspection of the airframe and engine was completed on May 15, 2015. The engine and airframe had accumulated 3,082 hours total time and the engine had accumulated 861 hours since the last major overhaul. About 31 hours had accumulated since the last annual inspection on May 15, 2015. 

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 44, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/30/2015
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/08/2015
Flight Time:  5340 hours (Total, all aircraft), 73 hours (Total, this make and model), 5200 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 37 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 17 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 21
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/25/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:   25 hours (Total, all aircraft), 19 hours (Total, this make and model), 3 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BEECH
Registration: N2339J
Model/Series: 23
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: M-285
Landing Gear Type: Unknown
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/04/2015, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2302 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 31 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3096 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320 SERIES
Registered Owner: Old School Aircraft LLC
Rated Power: 160 hp
Operator: Old School Aircraft LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMKL, 433 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1253 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 180°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.49 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 2°C / -1°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Humboldt, TN (M53)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Humboldt, TN (M53)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0745 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: HUMBOLDT MUNI (M53)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation:421 ft 
Runway Surface Condition: Dry; Rough; Vegetation
Runway Used: 4
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4003 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 35.802222, -88.864444

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